A Lifetime of Service: Sandy Kassel Retires as Business Administrator After 38 Years
The final days of July 2021 marked the end of an era for the Upper Perkiomen School District, as business administrator Mrs. Sandy Kassel retired after 38 years in the district.
During the late afternoon and evening of July 26, the district hosted an open house retirement celebration for Mrs. Kassel. In attendance were members of Mrs. Kassel’s family, past and present UPSD staff, School Board members, community members, and more. Also in attendance was State Senator Bob Mensch, who presented Mrs. Kassel with a Senate Resolution recognizing her years of service and dedication to Upper Perk.
Check out our gallery of photos from the celebration below:
Mrs. Kassel has selflessly dedicated her 38 year career to the betterment of the Upper Perkiomen School District. Her primary role in the district was that of business administrator, and without question, her integrity, commitment, good stewardship and endless hours in the office have always yielded a good financial position for the district.
While leadership in the district’s financial situation was a primary role, she has been called upon to serve in many more capacities, including supporting and advising 11 superintendents, taking a leadership role in many construction projects, and engaging community organizations (including, but not limited to, the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, local municipal leadership groups, community business partners and Kiwanis).
Sandy’s efforts have never been limited to business or community relations. Sandy cares deeply about kids. At the root of everything she does on behalf of the district is a pathway to financial support for programs for Upper Perkiomen students. Sandy has always found a way to make sure that kids get what they need, both in and outside of the classroom.
Through tremendous efforts, both on the part of Sandy and others, the district has seen amazing things happen over the course of her nearly four decade long tenure, including implementation of full day kindergarten, creation of transition programming for 18-21 year olds, maintenance of vital arts programs (when many districts were cutting similar programs), development of a K-12 virtual program and much more.
At several opportunities throughout her final weeks in the district, Mrs. Kassel expressed how special she feels the Upper Perkiomen School District is, how great the people are, and that she feels honored to have been a part of the district for 38 years.
Replacing Mrs. Kassel is Mr. Dan Direso, who has served as UPSD’s assistant business administrator for the last 4.5 years. Mr. Direso has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from York College of Pennsylvania. His previous roles include staff and senior accountant positions at Arthur F. Bell, Jr. & Associates, L.L.C. and CBIZ MHM, LLC.
Said Direso of his predecessor, “Sandy Kassel is the Upper Perkiomen School District. Any contract or Board Meeting Minutes from the last 38 years have been reviewed and signed by Sandy. That means she was responsible for the district’s finances before I was born. During that time, the district has undertaken building projects and debt borrowings, negotiated many contracts and experienced turnover in every position but one: Business Administrator. With Sandy’s professional experience she could have left for another district, but her dedication to the district, this community and all of the staff is unmatched. Everything Sandy does is, and has been, for the betterment of the district. During my time here, Sandy has worked tirelessly to ensure the district has been fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds, while ensuring our students are afforded a first class education. I am honored to have been afforded the opportunity to work with Sandy and learn what it takes to be a successful business administrator.”
Read on to find out what some of Sandy’s colleagues had to say about her hard work and commitment to UPSD:
Sandy’s work ethic, wealth of knowledge and dedication has been an inspiration to all who have worked directly with her. She has a strong desire to educate everyone so that they understand the importance of a school district in both the financial aspect and also the educational side for community members. I have been truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways throughout the last 25 years from Sandy’s expertise and guidance.
~ Dy Hipszer, Administrative Assistant to the Business Administrator
She is a walking Upper Perkiomen encyclopedia.
~ Rob Carpenter, UPHS Principal
Sandy’s depth and breadth of knowledge was a tremendous asset to me during my onboarding period and beyond. Sandy was always willing to answer a question or two even during the most demanding of times. Sandy’s legacy knowledge of all things UPSD will never be matched and will be sorely missed. The district is truly losing one of the most hard working, genuine people I have come across in my career.
~ Doug Kenwood, Director of Facilities and Operations
Sandy Kassel demonstrates what Upper Perk values most: a sense of community, high ethical standards, compassion, and service. What an amazing example we’ve all had to learn from over the past 38 years.
~ Kim Bast, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Sandy has been a steady, guiding force for the Upper Perk School District through many landmark events. Her ability to plan for the future has placed Upper Perk in many great places over the years. We thank Sandy for her unwavering commitment to this school district. Her example of undying dedication is an example to all of us here.
~ Allison Stephens, Marlborough Elementary Principal
Sandy has been so dedicated to this district. Working long hours after everyone has gone home, working on weekends, whether it's from home or coming into the office. She is passionate and dedicated to making sure that this district stays on target and budget. But she also has a genuine concern for the students as well. Sandy has a true honesty about her that you know you can trust.
~ Robin Rosenberger, Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent
Though I have only worked with Sandy for three short years, her impact on my department and myself has been immeasurable. The amount of support and dedication she has tirelessly shown to not only myself, but also to my department, each of our students, fellow administrators, and this district, is legendary. Her honesty and integrity are matchless.
~ Paula Germinario, Food Services Director
When we think of the Upper Perkiomen School District and our journey over the past several decades, it would be impossible to ignore the impact that Sandy Kassel has made on this institution. She has become a steady and essential fixture during our times of innovation, turbulence, and significant transition. Sandy is someone who has always had her eyes on the bottom dollar, while keeping her heart dedicated to students. Her commitment to keep the district fiscally responsible, while also trying to find ways to keep us growing is a legacy to our community and future generations. In addition to her role as our business administrator, Sandy is also our district historian. No matter the size of the detail and time that has passed, Sandy is the one to call when we are searching for what has happened in our district. To say she will be missed is an understatement. I wish Sandy Kassel many years of health, happiness, and well-deserved rest for the countless long nights, days, and weekends that she has devoted to our district. Sandy may be leaving us, but she will most certainly not be forgotten.
~ Mo Zavadel, Hereford Elementary Principal
Sandy has given her ALL in every endeavor she’s dealt with as Business Administrator. She genuinely cares about the school district and community. She is fiscally responsible when it comes to building the budget and the district expenditures. She is an icon amongst business administrators. On a personal note, she has been a good mentor and role model. I have always valued her knowledge and experience, and have learned a lot under her leadership.
~ Renee Mauer, Payroll Specialist
In my short time at Upper Perkiomen, it has been evident that Sandy Kassel has been an influential Business Manager, who not only managed budgets, but truly cared about how those budgets impacted our students. Sandy is passionate about her work and the district. Her years of service to one district exemplifies her strong commitment and dedication to Upper Perk.
~ Chris Siegfried, UPMS Principal